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    7 Places to Learn Code in Chicago: Free or Cheap!

    By The Fullstack Academy Team

    Students Learning to Code

    Coding and online learning go hand in hand, but sometimes you need a little human interaction and peer motivation to take your expertise to the next level. Whether you want to apply to a Chicago coding bootcamp to learn new skills and transition out of your current industry or you already have a computer science background and are looking for ways to deepen your current skill set and prepare for the job search, these Chicago meetups and organizations will help you take your next step.

    Low- and No-Cost Coding Options

    1. Free Code Camp Chicago

    Free Code Camp is a nonprofit that compiles thousands of online resources for people to learn software development for free. From HTML to HTML5 and from JavaScript to CSS grids, you can find it all on If you’re living in the Second City and enrolled at Free Code Camp, you also have the opportunity to meet with fellow campers face-to-face. Pair program, socialize, and work on projects with other motivated coders around the city.

    2. UIC Coding Bootcamp

    Learn the software engineering skills you need to launch a fulfilling tech career in 12 to 26 weeks at the UIC Coding Bootcamp. And it doesn’t just offer web development coding bootcamps—it also offers an Intro to Coding course to help you learn the basics of HTML and CSS.


    3. Chi Hack Night

    In addition to tech-centric information sessions, this organization hosts a weekly get-together for developers and non-developers alike to learn from each other and explore how civic tech can be used to improve the community.

    Chi Hack Nights begin with a meet-and-greet, followed by a targeted lecture, and three hours of solid hacking. Teams divide by skill level, so it doesn’t matter where you are in the learning process. These civic hackers use design, data science, web development, and publicly available information to build civic projects for the Chicago area. This event is a great way to up your programming game and meet awesome, like-minded coders in the Chi-Town area.

    4. Chicago JavaScript Meetup

    The Chicago JavaScript Meetup is broken into two halves: one for beginners and one for seasoned JavaScripters. At these Meetups, you can expect informative talks on JavaScript frameworks like React.js, Angular.js, Node.js, Express.js, and more. After each Meetup, there is time set aside to network. Check out its upcoming events if you’re looking to build up your fullstack web development skills.


    5. Chicago Python User Group (ChiPy)

    The ChiPy Meetup has over 1,000 active members and a number of notable alums in the Chicago tech scene. Python, a useful higher-order language, is the favorite of many beginner coders thanks to its intuitive syntax. ChiPy has a referral program that partners with companies and recruiters to help place group members in Chicago area tech firms. This group meets the second Thursday of every month, and events are open to all levels of developers.

    6. Women Who Code

    Women Who Code is a global nonprofit with chapters in hundreds of major U.S. metropolitan areas including Boston, Dallas, Austin, Denver, and Washington, D.C.—not to mention hundreds worldwide. According to their Chicago chapter Meetup page, “Women Who Code is the largest and most active community of engineers dedicated to inspiring women to excel in technology careers.”

    It focuses on training women in web development, user experience/user interface design, data science, and other important skills needed for fullstack web development. Its events include workshops on machine learning and job hunting, plus guest talks from local tech firms.

    7. Code Platoon

    This is a coding bootcamp specifically for people who have served our country. Its 14-week fullstack web development course is hosted in downtown Chicago and covers the gamut of skills job-seekers need to be successful in the tech industry.

    On the front-end, participants can expect to become proficient in HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and React.js. To master back-end programming, students will learn Ruby, the accompanying Ruby on Rails framework, and SQL. The program also teaches industry best practices like version control using Git and Test Driven Development.

    Veterans receive generous tuition assistance: There are full scholarships, scholarships that cover 80% of tuition, partial scholarships, and GI Bill benefits. Code Platoon can also help place program participants in paid internships to gain real-world experience.


    Chicago Coding Bootcamps

    If you already have some money saved up and are ready to make a more serious investment in your future as a web developer, you can also choose from numerous for-profit code schools in the Chicago area. Here are a few of the most popular:

    You are now equipped with a plethora of free and paid web development learning opportunities right here in the Windy City. So get out there and start coding!